What not to eat when pregnant? Foods to avoid

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Catherine Le Nevez
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What not to eat when pregnant

The diet to follow during pregnancy is not subject to particular restrictions: common sense advice is to eat in a varied and balanced way, especially in order not to gain too much weight and to prevent complications such as diabetes or preeclampsia. However, there are some foods that are not recommended or even forbidden during pregnancy: the restrictions mostly concern fresh foods that can be a vehicle for food toxin infections, such as toxoplasmosis. Here, then, is an overview of what not to eat when pregnant.





In this article

  • What not to eat when pregnant in the first trimester
  • List of foods not to eat during pregnancy
  • What to eat during pregnancy so as not to gain too much weight
  • What not to eat to avoid toxoplasmosis

What not to eat when pregnant in the first trimester

It is common to suffer from morning sickness in the first months of pregnancy, therefore the first advice is to have frequent, light meals, favoring liquids and dry foods. Here is an example of diet for the first trimester, recommended by our dietician:



  • Breakfast: cup of semi-skimmed milk, rusks and apricots
  • Snack: low-fat yogurt with cereals
  • Lunch: pasta with tomato and basil and some cheese and mixed vegetables
  • Snack: strawberries with a scoop of fiordilatte ice cream
  • Dinner: omelette without oil with asparagus and bread

List of foods not to eat during pregnancy

Here is a list of foods that are to be avoided or to be consumed with particular attention, for example when cooking:



  • Soft cheeses made with unpasteurized milk because they can harbor listeria bacteria;
  • undercooked meat: raw or undercooked meat can carry Toxoplasmosis and other bacteria, such as salmonella and E. Coli;
  • Sushi: to avoid raw fish and raw seafood which can be a source of parasites and harmful bacteria. Fish and seafood should be consumed only after adequate cooking;
  • Raw eggs: they can transmit salmonella, so they should be avoided completely. Therefore, also avoid desserts prepared with raw eggs, such as those with zabaglione creams or Tiramisu;
  • Raw vegetables or unpeeled fruit: they should be eaten cooked and only after washing them properly;
  • Salami and sausages: they can transmit Toxoplasmosis, as well as being not very valid from a nutritional point of view and high in fat and salt;
  • Large fish: they may contain excessive amounts of methylmercury. There is no problem with eating a slice of swordfish every now and then - as long as it has been well cooked - but don't overdo it with tuna or swordfish. Therefore, prefer smaller fish with low mercury content such as anchovies, salmon, cod;
  • homemade pate and sauces.

Alcohol in pregnancy

Alcohol should be avoided completely: even in very small doses it is a teratogenic substance and can cause serious problems for the unborn child, even in the long term. Among these the fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), a complex malformative condition, diagnosable already in the neonatal period, characterized by specific facial malformations (short eyelid rims, thin upper lip, flat and elongated nasolabial filter), microcephaly, staturo-weight growth deficit and neuro-retardation psychomotor.

Coffee in pregnancy

Coffee should be consumed in moderation: the maximum recommended dose of caffeine in pregnancy is 200-300 mg per day. This is a quantity that is achieved by drinking two or three cups of espresso, but it can easily be overcome by drinking a can of cola or an energy drink. 

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Diet in pregnancy, tips

Diet in pregnancy, tips | What to eat when pregnant. The dietician's advice on foods to avoid in the nine months of waiting. Example of a recommended diet

What to eat during pregnancy so as not to gain too much weight

According to the indications shared in the first trimester of pregnancy a woman of normal weight should gain weight by a maximum of one kilo and a half or a little more. The advice of the experts is not to eat for two, but to diversify the weekly diet, consuming cereals, fibers, vitamins and minerals, proteins and fats, giving up above all junk food.

The Istituto Superiore di Sanità has prepared a decalogue in which they are listed 10 responsible behaviors when it comes to nutrition during pregnancy:

  • Check your weight and blood sugar
  • A diet rich in folate and supplementation with folic acid, in the right ways and times, against some malformations of the nervous system
  • Vitamin B12 is essential to make the best use of folic acid and folate
  • Iodine is essential for the growth of the child and for the development of the brain
  • Supplements, supplements, health foods: only if there is a specific deficiency
  • Prevent toxoplasmosis and listeriosis
  • Avoid wine and alcohol when pregnant
  • Eat fish the smart way (EFSA recommendations)
  • Attention in the kitchen: cooking and containers
  • Cut back on caffeinated drinks

What not to eat to avoid toxoplasmosis

Toxoplasmosis is caused by an intracellular parasite, present in many domestic mammals and is transmitted orally, by contact with feces or meat. Toxoplasmosis infection is harmless for the mother but very dangerous for the fetus and therefore the recommendations of the experts and the Ministry of Health are to avoid foods that can potentially carry the infection. The foods not to eat, therefore, are above all raw:

  • unwashed raw vegetables (potentially contaminated with carrier animal feces)
  • raw meat (unless it has been frozen for a few days)
  • slightly seasoned sausages and smoked meats.

listeriosi

Listeriosis is an infrequent bacterial infection, a risky pregnancy for the fetus. Foods that represent a potential vehicle for infection are:

  • fish
  • raw meat and vegetables
  • unpasteurized milk and dairy products (soft cheeses, butter)
  • prepared foods (ready to use): cold meats, prepackaged salads, sandwiches
  • soft cheeses, unless they are made with pasteurized milk.

References

  • ISS
  • Ministry of Health
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